tv Politics Nation MSNBC October 8, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
>> i really did. i'll tell you what. what this is going to do is we're going to have a bigger need for doctors and nurses. so i really see in the next few years that we're going to have an explosion in those types of careers which are really good paying jobs. how is that bad for the economy? >> now, when you talk about default and we could go down that road, you visit with people in the social security administration every day. >> yes. >> put a face and an emotion to what it will do to people if we go to default. with the direct people you work with, james. >> if you and i don't pay our credit cards, the interest rate goes up. that's the same thing that's going to happen here. people are going to get hit over and over again. when people are applying for disability, they're hurting off. they're on the verge of bankruptcy and going to lose their house. it's going to be a bad situation all around. >> all right. this is what you get for tweeting "the ed show." all right? i appreciate you doing it very
much. >> i appreciate you having me. >> it's great to hear your story. it's important to hear your story and i appreciate it very much. james macdonald, thanks for joining us tonight. that's "the ed show." "politicsnation" with reverend al sharpton starts right now. good evening, rev. >> good evening, ed. and thanks to you for tuning in. tonight's lead, dishonoring our fallen heroes. this republican shutdown of the government has created a new outrage that's shocked the conscience of the nation. nbc news reports since the shutdown, the military has been unable to pay death benefits to the families of u.s. troops who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. this is marine lance corporal jeremiah collins. his family called him jay. jay died saturday while serving
in afghanistan. corporal collins was just 19 years old. his body was returned to dover air force base in delaware yesterday. by now, his mother should have received a death benefit from the military. but instead, she's gotten nothing. >> there is nothing like this pain. for the sacrifice that our kids are making at the age that they're making them, i don't understand how this can be a benefit that's withheld. i will not -- i won't ever understand it. >> this poor lady, this poor mother, this poor heartbroken woman didn't get anything for her son's sacrifice. families of fallen troops are supposed to receive $100,000 death gratuity immediately after their loved one's death. to help them in the midst of
their tragedy. five service members were killed in afghanistan this weekend. none of their families got this benefit. none. this is reprehensible. america is better than this. and today republican senator john mccain, a former p.o.w. in vietnam, spoke out against it. >> shouldn't we be embarrassed about this? shouldn't we be ashamed? what do the american people think when they see that death benefit for those who served and sacrificed in the most honorable way are not even -- their families are not even eligible for death benefits. i'm ashamed. i'm embarrassed. all of us should be. >> it's shameful. this republican government shutdown has created this injustice. it's dishonored the memory of
our fallen troops. republicans need to end this government shutdown now. joining me now are two veterans. former congressman patrick murphy, the first iraq war vet elected to congress. and goldie taylor, a former member of the united states marine corps. thank you both for joining me. >> thank you, reverend al. >> thanks. >> congressman, what's your reaction to this? >> i think it's disgusting. they should be embarrassed. this republican shutdown is now screwing with our military families who have lost their loved ones overseas. i know you talked about jay collins, reverend. i think about ashley peters who lost her husband jeremy this weekend. who's a stay-at-home mom in montana. has a son at home. she was one of those who didn't get the death benefits, who can't have the reception at the memorial service, who is now
struggling who at her darkest moments, the government's not there for them. because the republicans in congress won't put it up for a vote. just vote. just put a clean cr, let's get on with this. senator mccain is right. >> goldie, it is alarming, it is startling. when you look at the fact of the death benefits not being paid to the family of fallen troops during the shutdown, housing allowance, burial expenses, travel expenses. this is outrageous. the mother of that fallen marine talked about the stress of paying for the burial. listen. >> i think we need to remember that these young men and women are going to places that the majority of us would not sign up to go to. and the one thing they deserve
is to be guaranteed the benefits. families shouldn't have to worry about how they're going to bury their child. >> this is not about foreign policy, not about what our view of what engagements we're involved in. this is about people standing up representing the country that lose their lives. >> sure. reverend al, time and time again, the people who are losing their lives on the front line happen to be our children. they are 18, 19, 20 years old by and large. i remember the day that a battalion of navy men came down my front driveway because my nephew teddy had been killed in the line of duty. there is nothing, nothing like a navy chaplain showing up at your front door to tell you in person your loved one is gone. and then not to have the death benefit paid right away so you can bury them respectfully, that you can bring your family together in an earnest and meaningful way to salute your young fallen sailor or soldier.
it's simply immoral. at the end of the day, it's about this. they are out to pick winners and losers. and right now our servicemen and women are losing on any number of fronts. this isn't just about wages for uniformed people. this is about travel. this is about death benefits. this is about our readiness as a military to confront the challenges that we face around the world. and so i say to these republican house members, put it on the floor. let's vote tonight on a clean cr. >> let me ask you congressman, when confronted with this, john boehner seemed to blame the military for not making these payments. listen to this. >> can you tell us, please, what would you say to military families who've been denied death benefits due to the shutdown? >> last week the congress passed the pay our military benefits act. we gave broad authority to the department of defense to pay all
kinds of bills including this. and frankly, i think it's disgraceful that they're withholding these benefits. >> now, the pentagon says they don't have the legal authority to pay these benefits during the shutdown. so wasn't it disgraceful, i mean really disgraceful for republicans to shut down the government in the first place given these implications? >> absolutely, reverend. absolutely. but you got to understand, goldie and i were one of those select few that served in the military. it's about 1% of america that serves and goes overseas. john boehner's not part of that. he doesn't understand these five families that lost their loved ones this weekend in afghanistan don't have the death benefits. he doesn't understand that the va just closed down 56 centers, educational centers. he doesn't understand they shut down regional centers in the va.
he doesn't understand that every day 1,000 veterans will get their claims backlogged because they had over 3500 folks laid off. it's a disgrace what's gone on. and i don't want care if your viewers are democrat or republican, they should get on the phone, they should let their folks know those members of congress know especially those republican members of congress know don't be hood winked by the ted cruz tea party wing of your party. be america first. put the country first over the disgraceful politics that we see right now in washington, d.c. >> but speaking of ted cruz, let me remind you of this, goldie. ted cruz, senator ted cruz, he trotted down to the world war ii memorial to pose for photos with veterans. then he went right back to the senate floor and said this. >> we ought to be able to say
regardless of what happens in the battle over the shutdown, our veterans should be beyond politics. why would the senate want to hold veterans hostage? because of disagreements over obama? >> now, he's the one that led the shutdown. how can he accuse democrats of holding veterans hostage? >> you know, i'm beginning to question if ted cruz has a single bone of integrity in his entire body. to say that democrats are the cause for this government shutdown is one of the most despicable things i have ever heard. it is a fact that they got together and planned this particular tactic to get their own way, to try and undo a law that is certainly the law of the land. look, i want my baseball cards to win the 2012 world series, but the giants aren't going to give it back to me. at the end of the day we have to
tell ted cruz and the entire caucus they need to put a bill on the floor tonight that reopens this government, they need to raise this debt limit without even putting our veterans, our service members at risk. they need to do it and do it right now. >> congressman, president obama told john boehner it's time to stop the excuses on the shutdown. listen to this. >> my suggestion to the speaker has been and will continue to be let's stop the excuses. let's take a vote in the house. let's end this shutdown right now. let's put people back to work. there are enough reasonable republicans and democrats in the house who are willing to vote yes on a budget that the senate has already passed. that vote could take place today. shutdown would be over. >> congressman, do you agree with the president? >> yes. the shutdown, rev, would be over.
i mean, what i get frustrated like a lot of americans that have been following this, about one month ago eric cantor, the republican majority leader in the house said if we get a clean cr, continuing resolution bill, we will vote for it. because it makes the president want spending levels here, it's lower than that. they're getting the cr that they wanted a month ago, but they keep moving the goal post. but now because they're moving the goal post because they are the ones, the republicans, that are shutting down the government, it is our military families, our military veterans who are bearing the true cost of their politics. >> well, i think that i'm going to have to leave it there, but i don't want to leave without saying, again, how disgraceful i think it is that the shutdown causes grieving families of people that lost their lives for
all of us with not even the burial expenses to deal with their grief. this should be inexcusable to all of us regardless of what political ideology we subscribe to. thank you for your time. >> i agree. >> thank you patrick murphy, thank you goldie taylor for your time tonight. ahead, why is speaker john boehner refusing to take a vote to reopen this government? plus last night, we revealed the secret big money plan to destroy obama care. today president obama went after those shadowy billions in a very tough way. and my book, "the rejected stone" is out today. connie chung interviews me on my life and my evolution. also, friend or foe i want to know. e-mail me. reply al is ahead. [ male announcer ] a doctor running late for a medical convention
loses his computer, exposing thousands of patient records to identity theft. data breaches can happen that easily. we don't believe you should be a victim of someone else's mistake. we're lifelock. we constantly monitor the web so if any of your personal information is misused, we're on it. ♪ ow. [ male announcer ] call 1-800-lifelock or go to lifelock.com today.
[ male announcer ] may your lights always be green. [ tires screech ] ♪ [ beeping ] ♪ may you never be stuck behind a stinky truck. [ beeping ] ♪ may things always go your way. but it's good to be prepared... just in case they don't. toyota. let's go places, safely. if you have a business idea, we have a personalized legal solution that's right for you. with easy step-by-step guidance, we're here to help you turn your dream into a reality. start your business today with legalzoom.
i had a day where i made, like, nine bucks total. >> that's barely enough to support her two children. ages seven and eleven. >> she suffers from a rare incurable disorder that affects the central nervous system. she was to participate in a clinical drug trial. but more than 13,000 workers are furloughed due to the government shutdown. and new clinical trials are on hold. >> a teacher in the head start program, robinson has also lost her child care and has no savings. >> i'm at a loss for words, really, about it. because i'm not used to not giving my kids a christmas. >> and it's the same story in community after community. in california, officials can't track a salmonella outbreak that sickened almost 300 people. in kansas, farmers and ranchers can't make basic business decisions. because they're not getting
critical information about the nation's agriculture. in arizona, thousands of employees are stranded inside grand canyon national park without pay. a non-profit is delivering 1200 food boxes to make sure they get something to eat. but to the right wing pundits and politicians holed up in washington, d.c., it's no big deal. >> i think the american people have seen this as a government slowdown and not shutdown. >> people will recognize they can live with a lot less government than what they thought they needed. >> if they're going to sit this out for two months or however long the president wants to be arrogant and not talk to anybody, they're going to sit it out. >> the state of arkansas could help out, churches could help out. i believe no one is going to starve in arkansas because of the shutdown. >> no one is going to starve
because of the shutdown. each day the republicans hold the government hostage, it causes real pain. it's past time for them to do something about it. joining me now is congresswoman donna edwards, democrat from maryland. thanks for being here, congresswoman. >> thank you, reverend al. you met wi you. >> you met with some furloughed workers this week. did they tell you? >> i did. from the pain of being identified as nonessential and told not to come to work to the woman from the environmental protection agency administration who's on furlough, she said she takes care of her mother. that's what she does in addition to taking care of herself with her federal salary. so she's worried about it. to the woman who works at the department of health and human services who has an 11-year-old who's at home who is a child with special needs.
i mean, all of these workers are really feeling the pain in addition to the businesses that aren't getting business. the real impact on our local economy, and the impact on people's lives. this is actually about people. >> you know, president obama left no doubt today, none, where he stands. saying republicans are guilty of extortion. listen to this. >> if reasonable republicans want to talk about these things again, i'm ready to head to the hill and try. i'll even spring for dinner again. but i'm not going to do it until the more extreme parts of the republican party stop forcing john boehner to issue threats about our economy. we can't make extortion routine as part of our democracy. >> is this extortion in your judgment, congresswoman?
>> well, absolutely it is. i think the president has really made clear that this kind of recklessness is not only costing people jobs, it's not keeping our government open, and they are on the brink of sinking our entire economy. so we can't allow the recklessness to continue. and there's no indication, frankly, if the president were to give in to this extortion now, there wouldn't be another ransom down the road. i think the president is right to say we keep the government open and can do that with a clean funding bill. and we pay our bills on time. then let's sit down at the bargaining table and talk about what other things we can negotiate fairly as for the american people. but this is no way to do business. it's reckless and irresponsible, and on the republicans' watch. this is their shutdown. >> congresswoman, you said wreck our economy. we're eight days into the shutdown. we're only a few days before we have to deal with raising the
debt limit. how is this possibly going to lead to ruining our economy? if i'm sitting home, i'm not on the beltway. explain to me why this is so dangerous. >> well, i'll tell you very simply. first of all, it's already cost $10 billion. every week the government is shut down, it costs taxpayers $10 billion. then you add to that, you know, when the government is shut down you may still get your social security checks and your retirement checks, but when the debt ceiling is reached and we default, you don't get those checks at all. and so that is really the difference between even a government shutdown and a default. and it's not an exaggeration. i talked to bankers who are saying we're not able to lend. we saw business start to go up and now it's going down. we've seen what happens to the markets. we saw in 2011 when they engaged in this exact same recklessness that the stock market plummeted 17%. we're all in danger of losing
our retirement accounts again because of this recklessness. >> congresswoman donna edwards, thank you for your time tonight. >> thank you. coming up, more fallout from the right wing's secret plot to take down obama care days after the second inauguration. today the president sounded off on financing campaign. you will want to hear this one. discover card. cashback concierge, here. what is a cashback concierge? well there's lots of ways you can get cash back. i'm here to help you get the most out of your cash rewards. it's personalized, and it's free. i want that. we have a concierge! at discover, we treat you like you'd treat you. get the it card with cashback concierge.
i'to guard their manhood with trnew depend shields and guards. the discreet protection that's just for guys. now, it's your turn. get my training tips at guardyourmanhood.com acso 45 states and then district of columbia have voluntarily decided to raise the bar with consistent educational standards. now, students in those states will have a better chance to succeed in college and careers and to compete in the global economy. which means a better future for our students and our nation. join exxonmobil in supporting the common core state standards. let's solve this. life could be hectic. as a working mom of two young boys
angie's list saves me a lot of time. after reading all the reviews i know i'm making the right choice. online or on the phone, we help you hire right the first time. with honest reviews on over 720 local services. keeping up with these two is more than a full time job, and i don't have time for unreliable companies. angie's list definitely saves me time and money. for over 18 years we've helped people take care of the things that matter most. join today.
coming up, president obama went right after the conservative billionaires secretly pulling the strings. that incredible moment next. ♪ because an empty pan is a blank canvas. ♪ [ woman #2 ] to share a moment. ♪ [ man #1 ] to remember my grandmother. [ woman #3 ] to show my love. ♪ [ woman #4 ] because life needs flavor. ♪
[ woman #5 ] to travel the world without leaving home. [ male announcer ] whatever the reason. whatever the dish. make it delicious with swanson. [ woman #1 ] that's why i cook. ♪ [ male announcer ] laura's heart attack didn't come with a warning. today her doctor has her on a bayer aspirin regimen to help reduce the risk of another one. if you've had a heart attack, be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. if you've had a heart attack, be sure to talk to your doctor trust your instincts to make the call. to treat my low testosterone, my doctor and i went with axiron, the only underarm low t treatment. axiron can restore t levels to normal in about 2 weeks in most men. axiron is not for use in women or anyone younger than 18 or men with prostate or breast cancer. women, especially those who are or who may become pregnant and children should avoid contact where axiron is applied as unexpected signs of puberty in children or changes in body hair or increased acne in women may occur. report these symptoms to your doctor. tell your doctor about all medical conditions and medications.
serious side effects could include increased risk of prostate cancer; worsening prostate symptoms; decreased sperm count; ankle, feet or body swelling; enlarged or painful breasts; problems breathing while sleeping; and blood clots in the legs. common side effects include skin redness or irritation where applied, increased red blood cell count, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, and increase in psa. ask your doctor about the only underarm low t treatment, axiron. out for drinks, eats. i have very well fitting dentures. i like to eat a lot of fruits. love them all. the seal i get with the super poligrip free keeps the seeds from getting up underneath. even well-fitting dentures let in food particles. super poligrip is zinc free. with just a few dabs, it's clinically proven to seal out more food particles so you're more comfortable and confident while you eat. a lot of things going on in my life and the last thing i want to be thinking about is my dentures. [ charlie ] try zinc free super poligrip.
this shutdown crisis was months in the planning. it was a secret conservative scheme hatched days after the president's second term began. when a group of activists planned to cut off funding for the entire federal government or get rid of obama care. it was largely bank rolled by conservative donors like the billionaire koch brothers. who've secretly poured millions into right wing groups. well, today president obama took aim at that secret billionaire money in a way we haven't heard before. he went right after the ideologues who are influencing our democracy. >> i continue to belief that citizens united contributed to some of the problems we're having in washington right now. you have some ideological extremists who have a big bank roll and they can skew our
politics. and there are a whole bunch of members of congress right now who will privately tell you i know our positions are unreasonable, but we're scared that if we don't go along with the tea party agenda or the -- some particularly extremist agenda, that we'll be challenged from the right. and the threats are very explicit. and so they tow the line. >> they tow the line. you wonder why speaker boehner is too chicken to call a vote. he's doing what the billionaire donors want. instead of doing what's good for their constituents. and with the supreme court hearing another case on campaign finance, president obama warned about this continuing. >> the latest case would go even further than citizens united. i mean, essentially it would say anything goes. there are no rules in terms of how to finance campaigns. there aren't a lot of
functioning democracies around the world that work this way. where you can basically have millionaires and billionaires bank rolling whoever they want however they want and in some cases undisclosed, and what it means is ordinary americans are shut out of the process. >> ordinary americans have been shut out. but today the president went after the political bullies. he went after the secret money. and made it clear he's fighting for our democracy. joining me now, richard wolffe, msnbc.com executive editor and author of "the message: the reselling of president obama." and krystal ball, co-host of "the cycle." >> thank you both for being here. >> thank you very is having us. >> right after that report revealing a secret scheme. it was really striking for him
to do that today. >> it was. and especially with everything else that's going on in the country right now. but i think anyone, and i don't care whether you like obama care, hate it, whether you're conservative or democrat, i think everyone should be terrified by the idea that a few billionaires can get together and down the road can generate enough motion in congress to shut down the government. that should be a terrifying idea. as the president pointed out, what's really different is you see these right wing groups and it started with the club for growth, now tea party express and heritage action. we have a proliferation of these groups that are willing to enforce purity on the republicans and challenge them from the right. it really has led to a lot of the dysfunction we see in d.c. >> you know, richard, i mentioned "the new york times" reported that a number of conservative groups met in d.c. to plot their shutdown strategy. the group included billionaire
right wing activists and people who attended are still keeping the location of the meeting secret. the meeting produced a blueprint to defund obama care. that called for really shutting down the government over the health law. now, richard, this is what the president is talking about. this is the politics that get skewed. right? >> sure it is, but we've seen this movie before. in the clinton years it was called impeachment. where they didn't know how to deal with a successful democrat who could get re-elected, so they come together in a pretty organized way with a singular goal of not just gumming up a piece of legislation, but taking down a presidency. that's what really this is about. it is about something bigger than actually this president at this point. it's about constitutional balance of power. but their goal here, look. they tried this in the first term. remember? they met on the eve of the first
inauguration to say how do we stop this guy? give him nothing. that didn't work. okay. so they got back in the midterms. but the legislative agenda, obama care went through and other stuff. this is the same again, but it's even worse. they're not just giving him no votes. they're saying we're going to shut down -- it's not just about the economy, it's the world economy. we'll take them down just because of this president who won twice and we can't stand. >> that's really what we're looking at. and this isn't the first time president obama has called out the koch brothers. last month we learned they bank rolled this creepy uncle sam ad that told young people not to get insurance. here's what the president said. >> some of the tea party's biggest donors, some of the wealthiest men in america are funding a cynical ad campaign trying to convince young people not to buy health care at all. i mean, think about it. these are billionaires several
times over, you know they've got good health care. >> i mean, when you really get down to this, krystal, it's obama versus the billionaires. you have billionaires literally trying to scare young people from getting insurance and putting millions of dollars into this scheme. and you have the president on the other side. this is unprecedented in our history as a country. >> yeah. that particular ad campaign, i just can't -- it's unconscionable that you would spend money trying to convince young people take the risk, right? stay uninsured. even though you could get this great benefit from obama care, we hate the president so much that we want you to sacrifice yourself to the cause of defeating him and his agenda of providing health insurance to millions of people. it's unbelievable particularly because conservatives have always been the ones that have said if you don't take personal responsibility for yourself and buy health insurance and work to
buy health insurance, then you deserve to get sick, you deserve the consequences of what you get. and now they're turning around and trying to keep young people from buying health insurance. back to richard's point, just to undermine this president. >> but no president, richard, that i can find in u.s. history has had to face secret billionaires, almost unlimited money and trying to push the law where it can be even more unlimited. having this kind of bank rolled secret opposition to him. no president has had to fight this. >> you'd have to go back to another era. bill clinton -- tough go back to the '30s to find something like that. the scale is so strange. bill clinton had had the ideologues, really rich people going after him. but the campaign finance limits meant it was much, much harder. remember '96 and all of the
campaign allegations against them. this is a completely different scale. you're talking about billions of dollars in play. that means, you know, it all sounds like funny money, but it is obscene. they could put money into building religious universities. i mean, they could put money into hospitals and constitutions. whatever they want. >> literally. you're in the just imagining this stuff. these are part of the schemes. and after citizens united, the door's wide open and they have another campaign finance case in front of the supreme court now. we don't know if there'll be any regulation at all, krystal. >> and the sad fact of the matter is the system is so messed up to start with, regardless of what the supreme court does in this case, it has such a corrosive impact on our democracy, ordinary citizens feel shut out like they have no voice at all. >> now, talking about what it cousin to our democracy, besides a shutdown, we're getting closer to a federal default.
economists say it would be catastrophic. but some republicans say it would be no big deal. listen to this. >> i don't think the credit of the eyewitness is going to be collapsed. i think that all this talk about a default has been a lot of demagoguery. false demagoguery. >> you'd have a balanced budget. it doesn't mean you wouldn't pay your bills. >> anyone that uses the word default is being disingenuous. >> this talk of default by the u.s. treasury is nonsense. >> what's scary to me is not the pending catastrophe, that is very frightening. but that they act as though it's no big thing which means to me they won't even let caution guide them while they're playing these brinksmanship games. >> it's profoundly depressing that people who want to play politics with something called a debt ceiling do not understand
the impact of playing politics with the debt ceiling. >> it's terrifying. >> default is the actual result of not raising the debt ceiling. they can paint it any which way they want. standard & poor's downgraded america's credit last time around precisely because of this nonsense. they haven't learned any lessons. they're going to learn the hard way, unfortunately it's going to be worse than not giving people health care or shutting down the government. this will tank the world economy and they are on the path to wrecking this place. and they think it's no big deal. >> the fact that they would wreck this economy, the fact that they would on a global level render this country in such an untenable position shows the kind of vociferous anti-obama political hatred they have against this president. >> all to get their way. they lost the election, they lost obama care in the supreme court, they lost at the ballot
box. all they could do now, they've exhausted all their constitutional options. the last thing they could do is to break their rules to hold the country hostage and decided to go in that direction. and they're pretending it's no big deal. >> thank you both for your time tonight. >> thanks, rev. >> and catch krystal on "the cycle" week days at 3:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. and one more note, we reached out to the koch brothers for comment today. and have not heard back. ahead, i'm so excited about my new book "the rejected stone." it's out today. connie chung is here to interview me on my life. stay tuned. ♪ [ crashing ] [ male announcer ] when your favorite food starts a fight, fight back fast with tums.
heartburn relief that neutralizes acid on contact and goes to work in seconds. ♪ tum, tum tum tum tums! the end. lovely read susan. but isn't it time to turn the page on your cup of joe? gevalia, or a cup of johan, is like losing yourself in a great book. may i read something? yes, please. of course. a rich, never bitter taste cup after cup. net weight 340 grams. [ sighs ] [ chuckles ] [ announcer ] always rich, never bitter. gevalia.
today the president blamed republicans for shutting down the government. new polls suggest that americans increasingly agree with him. despite speaker boehner's best efforts, americans see right through the gop antics. a "washington post" poll shows 70% of the nation disapproves of the way the republicans are handling the shutdown. there's more. a national journal poll shows
stone." we flipped the tables and i asked a special guest to interview me about the book. >> i'm connie chung, not reverend sharpton. and i'm sitting here because i'm hosting this particular segment. have you ever heard someone say, oh, yeah, reverend sharpton. i know him he's that loud mouthed troublemaker hustler from the hood. you know, the guy who wears sweat suits and the gold medallions and he's got that james brown hairdo. well, reverend sharpton did run for u.s. mayor, the u.s. senate in the '90s. even president in 2004. a national civil rights leader who's seen with bush, clinton, obama, mandela, even arafat. who is he? is he really an ordained minister? well, in fact, he started preaching at his church when he was only four years old. they called him the boy preacher, the wonder boy
preacher. the reverend alfred sharpton. he even traveled the circuit on the road opening for the great gospel singer. you grew up in a nice neighborhood in queens. you had a mom, dad, older sister. and everything was really pretty good. your father was in the construction business. and you had cadillacs. >> yeah. he used to buy two a year. one for my mother, one for him. >> so you were a happy little guy. you even took your sister's dolls and lined them up as if they were sitting in pews and then you used to practice. >> yeah. he -- my mother had built me a church in the basement and i'd line up and preach to my sister's dolls. the best congregation i ever had, by the way. they never complained. >> you were kind of weird to
your friends, but then one day something terrible, terrible happened and it really shattered your world. what happened? >> my father left the family, abandoned the family. my stepsister and he had an affair. >> this is separate from your -- >> from my mother's first marriage. and they moved out. and this incestrial relation broke the family. we stayed in the house as long as we could. couldn't pay bills. i went from being this boy preacher that everyone knew when -- and i'm nine years old to the kid who didn't have lights and gas in the house. had to do homework by candle light. and i became, like, the laugh, the joke, the finger point.
it was very humiliating. i felt more abandoned by my father. i looked up to my father. i looked like him, named after him. and he left me. i think it was -- >> you felt personally -- >> i took it very personally. more than i wanted to admit growing up, i think. >> well when you all had to move to brooklyn. you describe it as a ghetto. >> we moved at first to what is called the projects and an apartment in groundsville. hi never lived in the quote, hood. because i grew up and my father owned the houses i was born in and in the one in queens. now i'm in an area where they don't pick up the garbage every day, where there's crime, where there's all kinds of things. you call an ambulance, it doesn't come. and i had never known that existed. and i think that's when my activism started. i was around ten then. because i knew a better life and
didn't understand why it was different there and that started my rebellion. i said to my newfound friends what do you mean the ambulance will be here in hours? somebody's suffering. and i think that's where i started getting even at that young age a sense of it was different for different zip codes. >> well, did you get into drugs and alcohol like everybody else? >> no. i mean, it was there. i think what saved me from drugs and alcohol was the church. i was still a boy preacher. i got more involved in the church. my bishop kind of took me even closer to him. because he knew the trauma i was going through. he would literally take me to then sears and robuck and buy me suits to preach in and let me run the service on friday nights. and my mother became a domestic worker. a woman who used to drive her
own cadillacs was now scrubbing floors. and we were on welfare and food stamps. but she never let me accept that was an excuse not to do well. i would walk her to the subway every morning, 5:30 in the morning. i think that's why i still get up early. >> why did you do that? >> i was afraid someone would snatch her pocketbook. i would walk her all the way to the subways. she said to me you're going to be somebody. don't worry about this. you grow up and you be somebody. she would put me around people like bishop washington and later reverend jones. and i took to them to be the father i didn't have to try to learn manhood. and i went through a life of searching for fathers. >> and you did. you found in james brown. you found him at 18. and you followed him around on the road. >> i talk about that in the book because i wanted people -- it's not as much about my story as
giving anecdotes of my story for people to figure out for them. >> let me talk to you about them. because you were for introspective in the book. and i never realized that you engaged in such self-examination from the time -- for example, when you were in jail, you were incarcerated and you instead of -- i don't know, doing what other people do in jail, you read. you read about nelson mandela. and you thought about your life and what you were doing. now, throughout the book, you do that, and you impart the wisdom that you garnered from living the life of hard knocks. >> i went to jail 90 days for leading a non-violent protest in puerto rico. protest of environmental conditions. and in those 90 days, i used it to have a meeting with al sharpton. i thought all my life i had been in social justice and the
ministry, but some of this stuff you got extreme. some of this stuff, being more theatrical than you could have. are you going to gear toward really getting things done? or are you going to gear toward just drama with no strategy for end results? >> okay. let's take an example. here's a 15-year-old girl, you became indelibly linked to her because you stood up for her cause. 15 years old, accused a gang of white men of raping her. in your book you said you have made some painful mistakes and linked in there when you're discussing her, you said the mistake you made in that case was being too emotional. allowing your personal emotions to get through. >> well, my emotions didn't make me do something i did not believe was true. i never said anything about any case i didn't believe. what i did do was make it personal, make a personal attacks between the prosecutor
and us whereas now like when i'm in a trayvon martin case or the gina 6 case, it's not about the prosecutor. it's about getting justice. and it's not even about representing the particular victim. it's about representing the cause. i would do all of these cases the same but not the same way. because our job is to fight to get them in a court of law as we did the zimmerman case so they can be properly litigated. >> i've hijacked your show long enough. >> i thought you were a journalist. "rejected stone." >> there you go. thank you so much. >> thank you for doing this. >> and thank you for having me. we'll be right back. to the elegant trim in each and every piece, kohler will make your reality a dream. i wanted to ask you a couple questions.card. i've got nothing to hide. my bill's due today and i haven't paid yet.
you can pay up 'til midnight online or by phone the day it's due. got a witness to verify that? just you. you called me. ok, that checks out. at discover, we treat you like you'd treat you. get the it card with payment flexibility. but with advair, i'm breathing better. so now i can help make this a great block party. ♪ [ male announcer ] advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator working together to help improve your lung function all day. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms and should not be used more than twice a day. people with copd taking advair may have a higher chance of pneumonia. advair may increase your risk of osteoporosis and some eye problems. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure before taking advair. ask your doctor if including advair could help improve your lung function.
autographs. we unveiled the book. but the book is not about al sharpton. i give some stories, things i learned from michael jackson to president obama. but it's all about how you deal with rejection, how we deal with society rejection of groups and you dealing with rejections in your life. "the rejected stone." i've been one. deal with your rejection. this book can help you. thank you, connie chung for helping to co-host tonight. and thank you for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. the lure of the wacko birds. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening, i'm chris matthews out in san francisco on my book tour. let me start tonight with this. the wacko bird caucus is flying over the capitol tonight